3.2 on the Masq Scale. Skater in a Strange Land by @davefrau #fantasy

Cover links to Amazon.com

Skater in a 

Strange Land

The Borschland Hockey Chronicles

Written by D.W. Frauenfelder 

Genre: Fantasy, Sports

24-year old Sherman Reinhardt dreams of playing ice hockey professionally, but his career at a backwater Minnesota college disappoints-- until his doctored resume convinces a team owner that he's good enough to play in the mythical Borschland Hockey League.

Borschland is a place time never discovered, on a continent that shifts between our universe and another. Here the locals drive horse-drawn carriages and fly in helium-buoyed airships, but everyone is mad about hockey.

Sherm is welcomed as visiting royalty and beyond all expectations leads his team towards a championship. Even better, he wins the admiration of the hypnotic, headstrong poetess Rachael Martujns.

But then a shadowy friend, the Upright Bear, Linus Black, Jr., claims Sherm's success is a sham: higher-ups are ordering opponents to let him succeed. What's going on? Is Rachael faking it, too? Is it time to wake from the dream? Finding the truth becomes Sherm's ultimate goal.

Mark Lee's Review

It's easy to slap a 4 or a 5 on a book. It's even easy to spot a 2 or a 1...at least for some people. This book, though, falls squarely in the middle. There's some great parts to it, easily earning 4 or 5 stars, but other passages are only worth 2 or 3 stars. Overall, a 3.2 on the Masq Scale seems fair. I enjoyed it, but I wish I could have enjoyed it more.

What was good: it's unique. I'm not super well read in the fantasy genre, but I'd venture a guess that there are few books like it, if for no other reason than the unique mix of elements, even if individually the pieces aren't all that unique.

Take a normal college hockey player and place him in a hidden part of our world, one that the public doesn't know about generally, but not so hidden that it's a complete secret. After all, people travel back and forth all the time. Think of the island from the TV show Lost.

What was head-scratching: not necessarily a bad thing, but the main character doesn't react like I would expect him to when he first encounters some of the fantasy elements of the hidden world. There's talking bears, for example. A little more reaction would have helped me accept the reality. But it was a minor thing.

What could have been better: some passages were written very well, but others could have used some fine tuning. Awkwardly worded sentences, for example. I got the impression that the author tried to do this on purpose since the hidden world is quite different from ours, but I felt it was overdone or at least a little too sloppy for my taste. Though the grammar/punctuation wasn't horrible, it too could have used some sprucing up.

There is a nice story underneath the rough exterior. And some aspects of the book were interesting enough to keep me reading. For example, the people of the hidden world speak a different language. We get a good glimpse of it. Reminds me of German but a variant that's somehow a little closer to English. Occasionally I could tell what a word meant before it was defined.

Review Disclaimer: Book provided in exchange for an honest review.